The Mustangs’ Allison Bachman, Ethan Stofferan, and Jake Stevenson are among the GPAC nominees for NAIA national awards.
Two Morningside College student-athletes and one Mustang head coach are among the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) nominees for NAIA national awards for the 2014-15 academic year.
Morningside’s Allison Bachman, a women’s basketball player from Fremont, Neb., is the GPAC’s female nominee for the Emil S. Liston Scholarship Award. Ethan Stofferan, a football player from Sibley, Iowa, is the GPAC’s male nominee for the Dr. LeRoy Walker Champions of Character Award. Morningside wrestling head coach Jake Stevenson is the GPAC nominee for the Coach of Character Award.
The winners will be announced when the NAIA holds its National Awards Day on Tuesday, Sept 15.
The Liston Award is named in honor for the NAIA’s first executive secretary and the prime mover behind the NAIA Men’s Basketball National Tournament. The award has been presented annually since 1950 to one junior men’s and one junior women’s basketball student-athlete who has shown high athletic and scholastic achievement.
Bachman was named to the second team of the all-tournament selections at this past season’s NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Tournament after she helped lead the Mustangs to the 2015 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship. Bachman provided offensive spark off the bench with a 10.2-point scoring average in the Mustangs’ five national tournament contests. She played a pivotal role in Morningside’s second round 74-66 victory against Oklahoma Wesleyan University when she contributed season’s highs of 17 points and six rebounds. Bachman averaged 7.2 points and 2.2 rebounds per game for the season.
Bachman received honorable mention All-GPAC recognition as a sophomore when she averaged 9.3 points and 3.0 rebounds per game while starting 24 of the team’s 36 contests. Bachman is majoring in advertising and graphic design and was named a 2014-15 Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete for having a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.50 or higher. She has made Morningside’s Dean’s Honor List and Athletic Director’s Honor Roll after each of her six semesters and is a member of Alpha Lambda Delta national freshman women’s honor society and Omicron Delta Kappa national leadership honor society.
The Walker Award is one of the most prestigious awards in the NAIA and was created in association with National Sports Foundation, a group of sports organizations that promote and recognize sportsmanship. Dr. Walker was a former president of the NAIA and president emeritus of the U.S. Olympic Committee. The award honors outstanding student-athletes for their academics, athletics, leadership, and dedication to living the core values of Champions of Character.
Stofferan, a linebacker on the Morningside football team, earned first-team All-GPAC honors last season when he was the Mustangs’ second leading tackler with 42 solos and 50 assists for 92 total tackles. He also ranked second on the team with 16.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage for losses of 57 yards and was third with six quarterback sacks.
Stofferan is majoring in biology and is a member of the Beta Beta Beta biological honor society. Stofferan has been actively involved in a number of community service projects during his time at Morningside. Last September he organized a group of Morningside football players to help citizens of Sergeant Bluff, Iowa, recover from damage created by a high wind storm and in the spring of 2014 helped organize a group of football players who traveled to Rock Rapids, Iowa, to assist with cleanup created by the collapse of a dam. In May of 2014 Stofferan was part of a mission project in Haiti to assist in the construction of a paved road leading from the village of Simonette to a school that sat atop a bluff. During his time at Morningside, Stofferan has also worked with youth at Boys Club of Sioux City and has participated in a mentoring program at Sioux City East Middle School.
The Coach of Character Award is given to a head coach who has been outstanding in embracing the five core values of the NAIA Champions of Character initiative by deliberately teaching character to their student-athletes through sport.
Stevenson has coached Morningside’s wrestling team to a 31-13 dual meet record and a pair of GPAC championships in his three seasons as head coach. Stevenson, the 2013 and 2014 Hauff Mid-America Sports/GPAC Wrestling Coach of the Year, had been a Mustang assistant coach for three seasons before he was named head coach.
His 2012-13 team was the wrestling recipient of the NAIA Buffalo Funds Five Star Champions of Character Award presented to programs that strive for excellence in and out of competition and are part of communities throughout the country dedicated to character-driven intercollegiate athletics. Stevenson was an assistant coach for a Morningside wrestling team that received the same honor in 2010 and was an athlete for Mustang teams that received the award in 2006 and 2008.
Stevenson, a 2008 Morningside graduate, was named to the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) NAIA All-Academic Team three times during his collegiate career and was named the Mustangs’ Most Valuable Wrestler after each of his four seasons. He was a four-time NAIA All-American and is the Mustangs’ all-time victory leader with a 130-25 career record. Stevenson became Morningside’s first wrestling NAIA National Champion when he captured the 2007 NAIA 184 lb. title with a 3-1 decision against Joffre Lander of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.